Photo by Sybil Holland




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A bit of Romania in Kandahar

June 20, 2012

Tags: More chaplain stories, Chaplains in MMG

Recently, I came across this lovely letter written by Fr David Alexander, one of the chaplains in Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Chaplains. Fr Alexander writes of conducting services in a church that was constructed for the Kandahar air base in Afghanistan. The beautiful wooden church is patterned after an Orthodox church in Romania and was designed by a Romanian U.S. Army engineer. It is said to be the only Christian church building in Afghanistan. Chaplain Alexander reports that it is quite a contrast to the Army tents he usually conducts services in!

I have heard from other chaplains who have seen and appreciated the chapel. Chaplain Shawn Found, who is currently deployed to Kandahar with the NJ National Guard (and who lives three doors down from me!), recently had a memorable experience at the chapel. Chaplain Found told his story to me:

"We had a soldier who lost his grandfather a few weeks ago. He wanted to light a candle in remembrance of him, but the other chapels on the base forbid open flame. So I told him, "Let's go to the Romanian Chapel. I'll bet they allow open flame."

Sure enough, they did.

The soldier took a few moments with his candle in front of a beautiful Icon, alone in the sublime Romanian Chapel. This is one of those moments I'll remember from this tour for years to come."